I decided to exercise one of the perks of being a business owner, and took off on Thursday to start my weekend early. Harley and I packed up the Jeep and hit the road for Jasper about noon. The roads were really bad, so we drove sloooow, but I wasn't in a hurry. I had a Paulo Coelho audio book to keep me entertained (Brida) and I knew D wouldn't be there until 5:00 or 5:30 so we putted along doing about 80km/hr.
We still managed to beat D to town so I went and picked up some stuff to make dinner and some bottles of vino to enjoy. D was happy to see us early and we had a great dinner and a relaxing evening together.
This morning I was planning to sleep in, but was up at 7am with D, had breakfast and then lounged for an appropriate amount of time given it was my day off. I was actually waiting for the temp to come up from the frosty-24 that it was when we woke up. About 9:30 it broke the -20 barrier and I decided it was almost time to go out. First though, a second breakfast of eggs and toast. Thank goodness I made that choice, as it turned out I needed the added energy.
H-dog and I finally hit the trails about 10:30. I tried out a skiijoring harness system that my friend Kelly lent us, and it worked great for running. The leash has bungee material in it so I don't get jerked forwards and the harness kept Harley from choking himself and still allowed me to reign him in when needed.
We started out on our usual trail that starts behind the Activity Center and leads up up and above the town. We continued on this trail until we came to a junction to take us up to Pyramid lake. I decided to take this route as I was feeling awesome and absolutely loving the run. The trails around here are, for the most part, very well mapped and marked. It is almost impossible to get lost. But I managed to get close to lost. I took a couple of turns when the marked trail ran out and was following a ski trail for a while. Then the trail veered off and we started following another trail that I think was a wildlife migration path, as it just kept going further and further into the mountains. I kept expecting to loop around and come back towards town, but at the 90min mark I decided I had better turn around and double back. I was feeling great, but hadn't brought any food or water and my cell phone was dead. I always say I want to stay in Jasper forever, but this way ;-)
We followed our rough trail back (it was a tough slog through some deep patches) and finally reached a road. I decided to take it, even though it wasn't as fun as the trails I wanted to get back before I found out my limit for running on fumes. Eventually the road met up with the same trail we had started on and I felt confident enough to venture back into the trees and followed it back to our starting place.
It was a 2hr20min adventure, longer than planned, but sooooo fun. I love running in the mountains, and kept thinking that I was so glad I've been doing all those boring treadmill runs, so that I can be in good enough shape to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature like this!
It was one of those days I felt like I could run forever. With only the sound of snow crunching underfoot and my breathing, the crisp and fresh smell of the trees, and beautiful vistas around every corner. I felt such joy and gratitude it felt like I could fly.
Unfortunately D had to work today, but I am glad I had Harley to share it with. He enjoyed every minute of it, and promptly crashed on the couch when we got home. I told him to rest up, D will be looking for a running partner when he gets off work, and I am done for the day!